Fylde coast cricket preview: Kirkham and Wesham CC and Lytham CC continue their promotion chases
Promotion on the final day of the Palace Shield season may look a long shot for Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club, but captain Antony Wilson can reflect on a highly successful campaign.
The focus for Wilson and his side was on consolidation following promotion to the Shield’s premier division, but instead the Wellington Street club have challenged at the top end of the table for a place in the Northern Premier League.
Fourth-placed K&W go into tomorrow’s home game against Croston with a mathematical chance of leapfrogging Vernon Carus and Barrow to take the second promotion spot behind champions Penrith.
They would require results elsewhere to go their way – K&W need the Penwortham side they defeated by six wickets last Saturday to win at Vernons – and some luck with the weather as rain is forecast.
Wilson told The Gazette: “No matter what happens we can be very proud of a fantastic season. We have exceeded all expectations for our first season in the premier. We just wanted to compete and prove we would be no pushovers.”
Twelve wins from 19 completed games can be put down to an all-round team effort, the skipper playing his part with 58 wickets.
He added: “We have a lot of guys with batting averages in the mid-20s, everyone is chipping in.
“Each week someone gets wickets and is well supported by the other bowlers. We have a well-structured attack, with good spinners for the middle of the innings and good bowlers at the death.”
Should the stars align for Kirkham and Wesham tomorrow, Wilson would happily join Blackpool and St Annes in the NPCL.
“As sportsmen, it’s only right that you would want to go up,” he said. “The worst that could happen is that we came back down again but we’d love to challenge ourselves in the Northern League.”
If K&W are destined for a second Palace Shield premier season, they can look forward to facing relegated Fleetwood and Morecambe next year. Dropping down from the premier, though, are Fylde and South Shore, to be replaced by Torrisholme and Euxton.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield fixtures (all 1pm)
Premier Division: Kirkham and Wesham v Croston, Thornton Cleveleys v Great Eccleston, Preston v Fylde, South Shore v Eccleston, Penrith v Barrow, Vernon Carus v Penwortham.
Division 1B: Fleetwood 2 v St Annes 2, Blackpool 2 v Longridge 2, Great Eccelston 2 v Chorley 2.
Division 2: Norcross v Preston 2, Torrisholme 2 v Thornton Cleveleys 2, Wrea Green v Vernon Carus 2.
Lytham’s remarkable rise to challenge for promotion in the Liverpool Competition’s first division faces its biggest test when they visit leaders Newton-le-Willows for tomorrow’s penultimate game (noon start).
Victory could seal the title for Newton but fourth-placed Lytham boast the league’s form player in outstanding professional Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar. The Afghan spinner has taken 23 wickets in his last three games.
Elsewhere, Blackpool Ladies’ head coach Roger Garlick has been named coach of the year in the Lancashire Cricket Club awards.
Team captain Caroline Blundell said: “Roger was nominated for his devotion in developing women and girls’ cricket on the Fylde coast. This is truly deserved, and as a club, we are immensely proud of Roger’s achievement.
“Roger is much more than a coach, he is also a friend and is the glue that holds the section together.
“Roger instils the values of his late father (Lancashire player Gordon Garlick) and we can’t thank him enough.”
Garlick will receive his award at Old Trafford and will now be nominated for the national ECB awards.
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